Despite starting as a fairly minor fire – one that likely could have been easily contained had immediate action been taken – a raging inferno broke out today at the convention centre currently hosting the UN Global Climate Change Conference. No symbolism is believed to have survived.
“It began near the delegation from the United States,” said a Japanese representative, speaking to reporters through an oxygen mask while recovering against the side of a Polish fire engine in Katowice, where the conference is taking place. “In fact I’m pretty sure they started it while trying to demonstrate the cleanliness of burning coal.”
“The hell we did,” came an American-accented voice from the other side of the red truck. “There was no fire! The Chinese just started a rumour there was so we’d all leave, and they could get a clear run at the buffet.”
“The buffet we provided!” retorted China from the back of an ambulance. “Which is now burnt to a crisp because India didn’t just put the fire out when they had the chance.”
“This is what it was like inside,” said Canada, who is already being accused of pouring an accelerant on the blaze, even while exhorting everyone else to co-operate.
Although a full investigation has yet to be conducted, early indications are that the fire started in plain view in the middle of the room, with dozens of extinguishers nearby – none of which were initially used.
“Video footage appears to show a range of reasons for this,” said Jan Wójcik, the Polish fire investigator assigned to the case. “From some delegates explaining that fires are natural, to others warning about the cost of refilling extinguishers, to still others saying they didn’t think it was getting all that warm.” Wójcik then muttered something in Polish under his breath, which was later roughly translated to mean: “It was some weird shit, let me tell you.”
The fire was eventually put out by a visiting group of schoolchildren.
“We walked into the main conference hall, saw the fire, heard the adults arguing, and just started grabbing extinguishers,” explained one of the seventh-graders. “Jakub here got his hands on a fire axe and made ingress into the walls, where the blaze had spread. Lena found an issue with the sprinkler system (installed but never connected) and got that going. Maja shut down the ventilation system and isolated power to the affected area. It was hard at first, I’m not going to lie. It got pretty hot and smokey in there, and once they stopped arguing most of the adults just lay down on the ground and cried, which certainly didn’t help. But eventually we got things under control.”
Brushing aside congratulations from the admiring reporters, the preternaturally composed twelve-year-old added that no one should be impressed by the fact the children saved the day.
“But what they should be is embarrassed the adults didn’t.”